Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God until He has mercy on us– Psalm 123:1-2
The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah went past the point of no return because its citizens were ‘exceedingly wicked against God’ (Genesis 13:13). Time passed and the outcry against these two cities increased. It came up before God because their sin was very grave (Genesis 18:20). Abraham with his incredible intercession, pleaded before God, to find enough righteousness people in the city to avoid God’s severe judgment, but not even ten righteous people could be found in an entire city (Genesis 18:22-33). What about where you live? Are you one of the righteous, your family and your congregation?
The city of Nineveh did not know right from wrong; they could not discern between their left and right. However, God was concerned about that great city (Jonah 4:11). Jonah was reluctant to go and tell them to repent, but after spending three days and nights in the belly of a large fish, he changed his mind. He preached God’s message, “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” It was a short message, but to the point. The people of the city ‘believed God, proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them’ (Jonah 3:4-5). This was a sign of their contrition and humility. They truly repented and believed the God of Heaven, the Creator of the universe. Jesus said, “With God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
‘These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies and one who sows discord among brethren’ (Proverbs 6:16-19).
16. Is there a Generation who Think they are Good?
Generations have gone away from God and their lives are in opposition to truth, decency and order. ‘There is a generation that curses its father and does not bless its mother. There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness. There is a generation – oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation whose teeth are like swords and whose fangs are like knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men’ (Proverbs 30:11-14).
Many Christians have compromised their testimony, broken God’s laws and have therefore publicly dishonoured Him, which has led to His name being blasphemed amongst the world (Proverbs 30:9 and Romans 2:23-24). Those who judge others yet participate in the same sins, God will judge (Romans 2:1-3).
17. Do people Despise Good and Resist Truth?
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about the last days in his second letter, concerning how people will be ‘despisers of good’ and they will ‘resist the truth’ because of their ‘corrupt minds’ (2 Timothy 3:3, 8). The Bible says: ‘To punish the righteous is not good, nor to strike princes for their uprightness’ (Proverbs 17:26).
18. Should the Habitually Unrighteous be Rebuked?
The Bible reveals: ‘Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed’ (Proverbs 27:5). A case example can be found in Judges 19:19-23. An old man from Ephraim was staying in Gibeah and gave hospitality to a traveller. His neighbours wanted to sexually abuse the male traveller who was under his protection as a guest in his home. The old man told them not to do such a wicked thing!
Many people including Christians shy away from denouncing sin or condone sin by not speaking out – the sin of silent omission (Isaiah 58:1). ‘He who rebukes a man will find more favour afterwards than he who flatters with the tongue’ (Proverbs 28:23), and ‘Those who rebuke the wicked will have delight and a good blessing will come upon them’ (Proverbs 24:25). The above Scriptures are generally considered for those of the same faith as yourself, for those who profess Kingdom values.
However, there is a warning for rebuking others: ‘He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser; teach a just man and he will increase in learning’ (Proverbs 9:7-9).
Most people do not have the personality and calling of John the Baptist, who publicly denounced sin and called people to repent. However, we may feel it is right to speak to an individual, to contact our MP, council representative or senator, or to support Christian ministries/lawyers etc. who stand up for Christian’s who have fallen foul of unjust laws at work (especially shop workers, those in hospitality and medical profession) or in the marketplace (e.g. open-air preachers) in support of their Christian beliefs. “Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16-17).
Speaking about the Final Judgment Jesus said, “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’ ” (Matthew 25:38-40).
‘For the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance’ (Psalm 94:14).
By Mathew Backholer.